Sanctions to continue if Russia refuses to address Donbas, Crimea issues – Kerry
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other western powers will remain in place if Moscow fails to resolve the situation in Donbas and Crimea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated at a joint presser with Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, Ukraine Today reported.
"So, make no mistake, if Russia chooses the path of de-escalation and full implementation of Minsk, the international community, all of us, will welcome it. And we pledge to work very closely with President Poroshenko to make sure that his government and Ukraine is doing all in its power to live up to its responsibilities," Kerry said, according to Ukraine Today.
The State Secretary also addressed Crimea issue:
"From the very beginning of the conflict, when Russia invaded Crimea, the U.S. has been saying that we do not recognize and will not recognize the Russian annexation attempt," he said.
Kerry convinced full Minsk implementation may begin "in short order"According to Kerry, "U.S. sanctions, imposed because of the Crimea issues will remain in force until eventually this problem is solved."
U.S. officials say Kyiv has completed most of its obligations under the Minsk accords but complain that Russia and its proxies have not done their part.
Under the peace agreement, Ukraine has pledged to hold local elections in eastern regions and pass a law granting them greater autonomy. But Kyiv says it cannot implement these points until all fighting subsides and it has full control of eastern borders with Russia.
As UNIAN reported earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced in Kyiv that the United States is providing nearly $23 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to help thousands of vulnerable people affected by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.